Michael K. Williams Dead at 54: Actor’s Family Members Mourn ‘Sweetheart’ Actor

by Matthew Memrick

Family and friends grieved over the death of 54-year-old actor Michael K. Williams on Monday.

The New York Post reported that the actor likely died from an apparent heroin overdose.

“It’s heartbreaking,” nephew Arvance Williams said outside his late uncle’s apartment in Brooklyn, N.Y. “I still can’t wrap my head around it.”

Known to his family as “Uncle Mike,” the actor was excited about his recent Emmy nod for a part on the HBO TV series “Lovecraft Country.” 

Michael K. Williams played gritty roles on shows like “The Wire” and “Boardwalk Empire.” To his family, he was a “sweetheart.”  

Arvance Williams called his uncle “gentle” and “a sweet person.” He related that his uncle portrayed mean and rough characters, but” it was a joke, because he was totally not that way.”

Another nephew, Booker T. Williams, was said to have discovered his uncle’s body. The family had planned on a Pennsylvania trip for Labor Day weekend.

“But we canceled that,” Arvance said. “I was going to just touch base with him, come over to the house and cook. Sit down eat with him. And this happened. It’s not even real. I can’t even process it yet. I don’t even believe it.”

Booker T. Williams expressed his love for his late uncle.

“My uncle was loving,: he said. “My family loved him. He loved our family. He loved our community, and he did everything in his power to show love.”

Friends Remember Michael K. Williams

Friend and fellow “The Wire” actor Wendell Pierce reflected on the late actor’s life on Monday.

“The depth of my love for this brother can only be matched by the depth of my pain learning of his loss,” he wrote. “An immensely talented man with the ability to give voice to the human condition portraying the lives of those whose humanity is seldom elevated until he sings their truth.”

According to The List, Michael K. Williams was homeless at one point in his life. But he found his way in acting. The website said he became so good at it, any TV or movie part was never out of reach. 

Actor Struggled With ‘Little Demons’

In 2017, the actor told the New York Times about his struggles with drugs.

“Addiction doesn’t go away,” he said then. “It’s an everyday struggle for me, but I’m fighting.”

Arvance Williams told the Post that he knew his uncle struggled with addictions, but the actor was not open about it.

‘“He had his little demons, and he would fight it,” Arvance Williams said.

The nephew said his uncle would fall and then get back up. He admired him for always trying to do better and stay positive. 

Sadly, Michael K. Williams joins a group of stars who have died from drug overdoses recently, including singers Prince, Tom Petty, and Mac Miller.